|Birth: ||Dec. 19, 1830|
|Death: ||Mar. 5, 1921|
Excerpt from Baptist Biography, Balus Joseph Winzer Graham, editor,(Atlanta, Georgia: Index Printing Company, 1920), vol. 2, 317-320.
In 1788 Robert and Sarah Dickinson Simms emigrated from North Carolina to Hancock county, Georgia. The name of John was given to one of their sons, who in young manhood was united in marriage to Comfort Grace, a daughter of Joshua Grace. John Dickinson Simms, son of the elder John Simms, was born in Coweta county, Georgia, December 19, 1830. His parents had moved to Coweta county from Hancock county, Georgia, two years prior to his birth, 1828. They settled in a virgin forest of the county, in which they cleared a place for their home and converted a large area of the forest into a fertile farm. They among other pioneer settler endured hardships and suffered many inconveniences, but with it all developed strong appetites, active minds and untarnished characters. They reared a family of thirteen children, five girls and eight boys. All the children were members of a Baptist church.
John Dickinson Simms, the subject of this sketch, the only surviving child, obtained his education under many disadvantages in the old log school house of the early days. It might be said that he learned more in the school of honest toil than he did from the old blue back speller and Davies' arithmetic. The high ideals of his father and mother were inherited by the sterling son, and from early youth he bore the marks of the making of a man.
From young manhood Mr. Simms was recognized as a leader among his fellows and as being a man of honesty and integrity. Accordingly, his fellow citizens elected him justice of the peace of his district, and his commission had just been received at outbreak of the War between the States. The excellent qualities of Mr. Simms were recognized beyond the limits of the rural district in which he lived. At the beginning of the ear Governor Joseph E. Brown commissioned him as Captain of Militia, which would have kept him out of active service. The position offered did not suit the ardent temperament of Mr. Simms, an so, in 1862, he enlisted in Company F, Sixteenth Georgia Battalion of Cavalry. This company he organized and went out as its captain, serving in this position through the war. His first service was with General John A. Morgan, in Kentucky. Later he was with General Early through Virginia to Washington City. Under General Early he performed a great deal of detached duty. No company ever had a braver or more considerate captain, and no general a more efficient officer.
After the war, Captain Simms returned to Coweta county and engaged in farming, which he has successfully carried on ever since.
In 1877 he was elected to the legislature, it being the first legislature convening after the Constitutional Convention, and served for a term of three years. Captain Simms has also served his country in many other capacities and has held many positions of trust by the suffrage of his people. And now, in the eighty-eighth year of his age, his form is erect, his spirit is buoyant, and he is greeted everywhere by his acquaintances as "Uncle John."
In 1848, Captain Simms married Miss Louisa Posey Hanson, of Heard county, Georgia, the daughter of Thomas K. and Gracie Moseley Hanson. Three children have blessed their home: Ella A., wife of Asbury H. Arnold; Fannie L., wife of H. M. Arnold and John H. Simms. Captain Simms was bereft of his beloved wife, January 8, 1913, in the eighty-second year of her age. The fortitude with which he bore his sorrow is an evidence of his strength of character.
Captain Simms united with the Bethel Baptist church, Heard county, Georgia, on August 13, 1844. The same church elected him a deacon in August, 1882, and the ordination service was preached by the lamented Dr. J. H. Hall, so long pastor in Newnan. After removing to Newnan, Captain Simms united with the First Baptist church, of which he is a substantial and influential member. Though considerate of the feelings and opinion of others, Captain Simms is every whit a Baptist. In matter of religion, the church of which he is a member has first consideration. Beyond that he is interested in his association and in all the enterprises which it represents. During his whole church life he has been loyal both to his church and to his pastor. They have found in him a never-failing friend.
Captain Simms has always been an ardent friend of education. He educated his daughters at Cox College, LaGrange, Georgia, and his son at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia. In the rural district in which he lived he made liberal gifts of land and money for the establishment and maintenance of the best possible schools for his neighborhood. His interest in primary education has not ceased, though his own children have long since enjoyed the finishing touches of a collegiate education.
Captain John Simms is a man of striking personal appearance. He stands a little better than six feet tall, and though the weight of eight-eight years rests upon him, he is straight as an arrow, and though his face bears the marks of age it is often wreathed in smiles, indicative of a happy heart and a contented life. Captain Simms is a rare type of Christian gentleman, and though by his frugality he has amassed a competency to sustain him in his declining years, his greatest fortune consists of his accumulated influence for good, which will live for generations after his transition to the other world.
The country home of Captain Simms, in Coweta county, was a favorite resort for his friends and brethren, and especially Baptist ministers. While his dislikes are very pronounced, his love for friends and brethren is exceptionally strong and abiding. To be host to his friends is one of his greatest pleasures. He knows how to entertain with old fashioned Southern hospitality. It is impossible to be his guest without going away with higher ideals of friendship and Christian manhood. He impresses his associates as being the soul of honor as a gentleman, and no one dares to put a question mark after his honesty and integrity. He belongs to a distinct school of Christian manhood that stands four-square for civic righteousness and for the best in Christianity. As an evidence of the high esteem in which Captain Simms is held by the First Baptist church, of Newnan, Georgia, upon the decease of Judge Alvin D. Freeman, he was made chairman of the board of deacons, which is composed of twenty-four men. In this capacity, as in all others, he is serving with distinction.
John Simms (1780 - 1863)
Comfort Mattox Grace Simms (1798 - 1880)
Louisa Posey Hanson Simms (1831 - 1913)
Ellen Simms Arnold (1850 - 1927)*
Francis Elizabeth Simms Arnold (1852 - 1919)*
John Hanson Simms (1854 - 1940)*
16 GA BN CAV
Oak Hill Cemetery
Created by: John Dickinson
Record added: Feb 27, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48888983